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Cranfield Members’ Blog

The Awards

Best speaker award goes to Sunday for his Icebreaker

Amaia takes the best Table Topics Speaker Award


Daniel (right) and Atma (left) share the honours as best Evaluators


Sunday comes back to accept the best use of humour


Amani crowns the Awards with the Silver Cranfield Toastmaster of the Year 2013-2014 Award

TME Report

It was a summer evening at Cranfield Speakers club with Allison as Toastmaster of the Evening. He set the theme ‘Enjoy Ice Cream this Summer’ for the meeting, reiterating that as we enjoy the heat of the summer, we all are happy when the ice cream van comes along; adults and children alike scamper around the van to enjoy copious portions of ice cream from beautiful CONES! He informed members that Charles E Menches is credited with the invention of the ICE CREAM CONE on 23rd July 1904, a particularly hot day, when he bought up his neighbor’s wafer pastries and rolled them into cones to serve ice cream.

Jim was Jokemaster while Matt was the Time Keeper! Eva, the Grammarian gave us ‘Euphoric’ as the word of the day, counted the grunts, and handled the Table Topics, giving out alphabets and phrases to talk about. Daniel picked D’ and spoke about Dangerous Cellulitis; Amani picked ‘A’ and talked about the need for Air-conditioning in her home Mediterranean climate; Atma who grabbed an ‘L’ told us a Love story he heard from a fish. Amaia, speaking about Every Last Straw, informed us of how some people save energy by switching off light, while others save water by not having their bath.

The joke was the story of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Bill Gate reaching Heaven on the same day. When asked why they should enter Heaven Bill Clinton said he tried to represent the people, Al Gore tried to save the environment, but Bill Gates wondered why God was sitting in his chair.

In the prepared speech segment; Alex, who was introduced by his Evaluator Amaia, spoke on,‘There’s Method in the Madness’. He cautioned Toastmasters not to always focus on ourselves, as there are needy people all around us. He recommended unused cloths to be sent to charity shops, excessive food to be given to the hungry and for everyone to strive to do things for other people.

Maria, who was introduced by her Evaluator, Stephen, demonstrated how to Get to the Point with her speech entitled, ‘Don’t Just Sit There’. She pointed out that the body metabolism slows down and does not process sugars and that leads to all manners of health challenges, when one just sits there. She recommended what to do about it, which was, to move about.

Daniel introduced Sunday who Break the Ice, with his speech entitled, ‘My Childhood Hero’. Sunday took us down memory lane, a quite emotional speech, of how Sir Emmanuel, a total stranger, saved him from the pangs of alcoholism and illiteracy by providing help at the right time and the right place.

In the awards segment, Sunday took home his Ice Breaker Pin, the trophies for the Best Speech and most Humorous Speech. Daniel and Atma won Best Evaluator (Daniel for the first time)! Best Table Topics was won by Amaia. The General Evaluator’s award went to Eva, while Atma was the Smooth Talker of the evening. Amani was formally presented with her Silver Award for doing so well for Cranfield Speakers in the immediate passed year.

Atma reminded all present about the forth coming Humorous Speech Contest, and encouraged members to participate.

Next meeting will be on 13th August 2014. All welcome.

Prepared by Allison and Edited by Daniel Sandars, 27/07/2014


For the first time in three years Daniel wins Best Evaluator.

Every seat at the boardroom table was taken by six members, three new guests, and three returning guests. We enjoyed two prepared speeches from Dave and Sue. New member Josie led an inspired table topics session that drew eight topics speakers to the floor. Issie and Dereck shared the honours for best topics speakers and Dave took best evaluator for doing a fantastic job evaluating all eight topics speakers and Josie the table-topics master. To round out the night Sue, Kelvin, Daniel and Josie tied for best use of humour.

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Prepared Speeches

Dave’s gave us an after dinner talk, the fifth project from the advanced manual “The Entertaining Speaker”, entitled “Time will tell”. The talk was a humorous tour of his experience of Toastmasters venues with with flawed character overlaid with his experiences of being involved with six club start-up attempts. Some venues needed extra seating up the isles of the library, others had singing in the background, some were cold and mouldy, and yet others prone to impossible car parking if the local hall had an event on.

Sue’s prepared speech on “How to win at Meetup” was a project 2 speech from the Competent Communicator manual. Sue laid out a systematic approach to optimising the use of the Meetup website by Toastmasters’ clubs. Going through the What, Why, How and When that works. Of those present at the Meeting over half had heard of Northampton Speakers through Meetup. Since the meeting others have signed up at Meetup.

Table Topics

Josie developed an inspired theme around colours, drawing and mood. Drawing and colouring form part of her earliest memories.

  1. Kelvin talked about childhood memories and boxing with his relatively young father and the need to catch-up on some more moments like that.
  2. Daniel talked about why some teachers are grumpy –are they kill joy disciplinarians? In any case they are far better off pensioned off as soon as the pension system can be fixed.
  3. Lynda spoke about art and what is art and that it is what you want it to be.
  4. Issie mused about doing something she loved, which might be learning and contrasted that to her up coming consultancy career which will surely offer a heady ascent up the salary scale.
  5. Jacky, when asked about favourite clothing, told of her love for 1960s vintage clothing that she either makes or sources online or in specialist shops.
  6. Reena gave us her views on colours and moods around the house from hot energetic red and orange colours that might not be restful to calmer blues and greens.
  7. Dereck was given brands and colours and plumped for VW, his employers brand, and the colour for him in a car was the first available –silver.
  8. Kodi spoke of yellow ducklings and sky blues as great fun calming mood colours to have around children.


Sue was President, General Evaluator, Meeting Evaluator, and Sergeant at arms. Lynda was Vice president of Education. and Toastmaster. Dave was Topics Evaluator with Daniel and Joydeep being the Speech Evaluators. Daniel and Joydeep were also the timekeepers. Kelvin took on the grunt counter role.

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Next meeting 4th August at 53 Billing Road, Northampton

See this meeting written up as a Prezi!

A lively highly functional night. We had six members, four welcome guests, the Area 44 Governor, and a fellow visiting Toastmaster. We had two great icebreakers from new members Josie and Ganesha. Joise went on to earn the smooth talker award. The general evaluator’s award went to first time guest Sara for sheer bravery in attempting her first table topic. With three speeches we were able to hold a contest that Isaiah won. Area Governor John took best evaluator and first time Guest Isabella took best table topics speech.

Sue lead with the roles of President, Sergeant-at-arms, Toastmaster-of-the-Evening and speech evaluator. Lynda was the general, meeting and topics evaluator. The other speech evaluators were John and Dave. Of the remaining roles Isaiah was the grunt counter, Daniel the table-topics master, and Josie made her début as the time keeper.

The new Area 44 Governor, John, paid us a visit. Fortunately, we were not overawed as his two immediate predecessors, Lynda and Sue, are members of Northampton Speakers. He gave heartening feed back that prospective club Northampton Speakers was not just a few people meeting but a fully function club providing the genuine Toastmasters experience to its members and guests.

12 Cranfield Speakers attended last night’s ‘Mountaineering’ themed meeting and lots of discoveries were made through our 4 sporty table topics, 4 prepared speeches, evaluations and supporting roles! Slides follow…
Becky (acting as Toastmaster of the Evening)

Remember – 3 Top Tips for Mountaineering…

TRAIN: Use the stairs not the lift
PLAN: Your route & wear appropriate footwear
PREPARE: Food, water, mobile phone, first aid kit & shelter
From Becky,
Toastmaster of the Evening


Slides from Maxime’s talk

Slides from Allison’s talk

Slides from Amaia’s talk

Assembled by Daniel Sandars 14th July 2014

Cranfield Speakers 25th June Meeting Write-up

Another good evening at Cranfield speakers club, or should that be on board “The Good Ship – Toastmasters”. Maria was the TME or Captain for the evening, complete with her Captain’s hat, celebrating “25th June – World Seafaring Day” by setting a nautical theme for the night of “Ahoy there !”. “Ahoy” was also chosen as word of the day by Rose Marie, which most speakers mentioned a couple of times.

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Thirteen people attended (good, considering the full fixture list for World Cup that night), plus one welcome special guest, Allison’s daughter, who probably the youngest guest that has attended a Cranfield Speakers meeting.

Maria’s ship’s officers for the evening were; Stephen debuting as timekeeper, Rose Marie as grammarian, Evangeline as “Ah counter”, Becky as General Evaluator, Sunday as Sergeant-at-arms, Maxime as Tabletopics master and Daniel as tabletopics evaluator. Allison was the jokemaster and started the evening with a funny tale about a woman, her makeup, and a visitation of angels.

Becky as VP education gave us a quick recap on importance getting involved in and continuing with the competent communicator and competent leader programs using an interesting prop that her son Dylan had designed and decorated, the green Guitar-Scooter, with the take home point being don’t let the wheels come off.

Maxime’s carried on the nautical theme for the Table topics session, taking us on a adventurous voyage on the high seas with inspirational slides. First up was Jim who had to procure us a ship, which he did, whilst he was “three sheets to the wind”, gammy leg and all. Second was Rose Marie, who was our cartographer and had to decide our destination. On consulting a crystal ball, the sails of our ship were set for Manhattan in New York. Next was Paul J, who gave us a lot of laughs negotiating with the pirates we came across, to let us, a small defenceless ship through unharmed as we had nothing worth pinching. We finally reached our destination and found a treasure chest beyond our wildest dreams. Last up was Maria, who had to tell us about the treasure and what we would do with it. She decided to divide it fairly, have a party, then sail back; but not before buying some cannons and cannon balls, to defend us from the pirates on the way home.

There were only two prepared speeches, as two members weren’t able to make it at the last minute. First was Evangeline with her ice-breaker speech, entitled Ev Sucre. She gave us a tour of her personal history accompanied by slides; telling us about her family, her schooling, and what she is doing at Cranfield University. She then went on to tell us about her favourite things and hobbies, so we feel that we definitely know her a bit better now. John gave her evaluation.

Next was Allison, who was delivering his sixth speech, evaluated by Maxime; which concentrated on giving us plenty of vocal variety. Allison eloquently described his great joy about finding out from the ultrasound scan after waiting many years (after the birth of his son) that he was finally going to have a daughter. He brought us up to date with how scans were now able to provide more sophisticated 3-D images of babies in the womb, and linking this to developments with 3-D printing, that it would now be feasible, to print a 3D replica of your child to be in the womb. He would have loved for this to been available when his wife was having their daughter, so that he could anticipate her arrival even more.

So many common phrases in the English language can be traced back to nautical origins, due to our strong sailing and naval history. Maria set a challenge for the evening, to see who could give the best example of a common nautical phrase still in use today, and who could use the most nautical expressions during the evening. She got the ball rolling by explaining the origins of phrases such as; “No room to swing a cat”, “Flying colours”, “Posh” and “Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey”.


The AWARDS of the evening went to; Paul J for best table topics speaker, John for best evaluator, Paul for best use of humour and John for smooth talker. No award was given for best speaker, as there were only two speeches. The evening’s challenge winners were Jim won the best example of a nautical phrase prize for his depiction of three sheets to the wind, and John for mentioning the most sailing and nautical terms during the evening.

Next meeting will be on 9th July 2014. All welcome.
Prepared by Maria.

The seventh meeting saw eight Toastmasters and guests gather at 53 billing road. Joint honours were taken by Ganesh and Josie for best Table-topics. Ganesh also debuted as an evaluator and evaluated an advanced educational speech. At the end of the meeting Northampton Speakers had identified the first six of twenty charter members, has two further spare dual members, and has two applications yet to be finalised. The word of the day was Scabrous which was not used by anyone. Tasty teasers from Malta were provided during the break having been brought by Daniel following his recent holiday there.

There were two prepared speeches:

  1. Sue presented “Aliens In Our Midst” from the advanced speech manual Special Occasion Speeches (2008-07) #3 – The Roast (3:00-5:00 min) Poke good-natured fun at someone; Adapt humour from other sources; Deliver jokes and humourous stories effectively. Her evaluator was Craig. She came prepared with her husband mark and proceeded to show that he must be an alien by the number of shampoo bottles he has on the go and the number of ‘man drawers’ of useless paraphernalia he has all over their house.
  2. An educational speech “Find new members for you club ” (10:00-15:00 min) was presented by Daniel. It was taken from the Successful Club series of leadership speeches. His evaluator was Ganesh who was debuting as an evaluator. With the aid of Captain Jack Sparrow’s Daniel told via his own journey into Toastmasters that it is the connections we make through people and their Toastmaster ambassadorial role that are far more effective than marketing per se.

The table topics session was lead by Lynda and themed on things dental:

  1. Craig was in the dentist chair and decided that he would rather suffer the dentists drill than have the anaesthetic needle
  2. Daniel had super enamelling gel that would regenerate 83% of his teeth enamel every three days so he proceeded to brush it into his teeth until there enamel for everyone and then proceeded to re-enamel his tea pots and whole house.
  3. Josie had the chance to improve anything and decided that despite buddist beliefs that a few less lines would help
  4. Ganesh had dental gadgets and soon concluded that his GPS, dictaphone and his mobile phone were the most important gadgets he wanted.

Dave was General Evaluator with Lynda keeping time and Sue Presiding and acting a Sergeant at Arms.

Dates of the next meeting 7:15 for 7:30 on Monday the 7th July at 53 Billing road to be followed by the inaugural meeting of the executive committee.

Area 44 Club Officer Training will take place on Cranfield University Campus 19th July. All members are welcome to attend.

Write-up prepared by Daniel Sandars, 19th June 2014

Northampton Speakers meet on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month (except for bank holidays) 19.15 for 19.30 at 53 Billing Road, Northampton, NN1 5DB  FindUs on Facebook, Find Us on Meetup or go to our Website

DSCF2663Twenty Toastmasters, visiting Toastmasters and most welcome guest gathered at the College Arms on Cranfield University campus for a scrumptious awards dinner. I choose seafood and salad followed by sirloin of beef and a delicious dessert of chocolate profiteroles.

Some really big awards were announced, but first a flavour of the night in the order that it happened.

Matt kicked the night off as Sergeant at Arms with Maxime running the night as the Toastmaster of the Evening. Maxime and Allison have been involved in planning from the outset in April as the special event chairs and committee.

Jokemaster JimJim gave us a cracking joke on the perils of aging and the distraught man who found that marrying the sexiest and most attentive younger woman in the world was devastated to find he could no longer remember where he lived.

Our Table-topics master was Becky who brought out a bag of assorted things that linked to red. On being given a red tube of paint Louise came out as an artist. Helene puzzled out that a red facia off a fire alarm was connect to her special humour workshop with Bob Ferguson on the 9th July. Vivaldi’s four seasons didn’t quite have enough VAVOOM for Jim! What a cool Red Angry birds hat thought Steve as he described that marvels of both hat and iPad game.


Break for Dinner

Matt called us to order for the second half. We had two speakers:

  1. Stephanie returned to the floor after a break of two years to give us an excellent after dinner speech (Project 5 from the advanced speech manual the entertaining speaker). She addressed the students and related the story of her journey to graduation and beyond.  Graduation, she found didn’t automatically imply an executive house, car and pension but was an equally rewarding journey with false headings and new more fulfilling directions.
  2. Project Ten is the culmination of the Component Communicator Award and Paul delivered his. There are three very important things that you as future alumni will take away when you leave. You’ve had the excellent and renowned Cranfield University experience, you’ve travelled to be at Cranfield and experienced new people and cultures,  and you’ve invested scarce time and enriched your skills further by being members of Cranfield Speakers.

Stephanie gives an after dinner speech

The gongs and bling

  • Louise won best Table-topics speaker, sneaking a kiss on President John as she collected her ‘keep for life’ ribbon.
  • Matt won best use of humour and jested that as Sergeant at arms he did the counting and the result was right despite the conflict of interest.
  • Paul was awarded his official club badge complete with the ‘CC’ from his new award of Competent Communicator.

Paul Jones Awarded CC

Cranfield Toastmaster of the Year

This is the inaugural year and by popular nomination the first winner was Maxime for his outstanding contributions to all areas of the club many of which have won him awards and have set him up with a plan to earn his Competent Communicator award with his year at University. Amani took ‘silver’ as the warmest, friendliest member of the club who recently gave a speech on hope at twenty minutes notice to cover a sudden gap in a meeting.

Distinguished club program (DCP)

President John announced that Paul’s speech and thus award of Competent Communicator was the final piece in obtaining nine of ten possible points within the DCP, the first time Cranfield Speakers has done that in its three year history. We’ve just earned recognition from Toastmasters International as the President’s Distinguished Clubs and will be able fly to fly that ribbon from the club’s banner for the year ahead.


Area 44 Governorship

Lynda Andrews (Area 44) Governor addressed the room to thank Cranfield Speakers for its hospitality and that she is consistently pleased with the high quality of events that we hold. She announced that her time as our area governor was coming to an end, but that all was not lost as her very capable successor was in the room tonight. With that she called President John up and invested him the the insignia of the Governor of Area 44.

‘Finishing & Completion’ – 28th May 2014 meeting

TME Report @ Cranfield Speakers

It was a wonderful evening at Cranfield Speakers club with Allison as TME setting the theme of the meeting as ‘Finishing & Completion’ drawing from the fact that the Toastmaster year 2013/2014 is coming to an end as the current Executive Committee prepares to hand over to the new Executive Committee for the 2014/2015 year. We had an interesting, humorous and engaging session with a touch of poetry from three different speakers in one night’s event! 17 people attended, including 1 very welcome guest.

Eva was Jokemaster and she gave two quick jokes and a poem, while Alex was the accurate Time Keeper that flashed green, amber and red cards!!! The Paul brothers made the evening quite eventful; Paul W gave us ‘Achievement’ as the word of the day and counted the Ah’s and Um’s with precision, Paul J doubled as Sergeant-at-Arms and Table Topics Master with rather challenging questions about floating monsters, in the style of ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’. Maxime was half mango/half man, Karel was half fish/half kangaroo, Jim was half fly/half first aid kit but metamorphosed into a Superman; and Atma was half bird/half spaceman. Matt did a good job of the Table Topics Evaluation.

For the prepared speeches, Amaia told the audience How to Say It with her speech entitled: ‘Changing the Perspective’. She introduced her good friend JRR Tolkien and illustrated that all that is gold does not glitter, but that we that we can change the perspective and must never lose hope. Amaia used very graphic images on PowerPoint to drive home her point. She was evaluated by Karel.

The next speaker, Maria, was introduced by Maxime, her evaluator. Maria demonstrated how to Organize a Speech with hers entitled, ‘The Ultimate Deadline’. It centered on avoidance of procrastination and included a story of an extremely clean bathroom.

As her evaluator, Jim introduced Becky’s advanced speech from the Successful Club Series entitled, ‘Roles, Responsibilities & Rockets’, Becky explained how the Cranfield Speakers’ Rocket can head for the skies at supersonic speed if each and every Toastmaster takes up his/her roles and responsibilities for running the club. Find below a link to the Cranfield Speakers’ Rocket which she displayed at the meeting. Is it not breathtaking, beautiful and informative?!

Becky then introduced Atma for his speech entitled, ‘Follow Your Dreams’. Atma Inspired the Audience by appealing to our hearts and minds to believe in ourselves, to believe that whatever happens, happens for a good reason and to be generally optimistic in our outlook to life. He brought his story telling skills to bear as he took us into the Indian Jungle with a story about a king who mistakenly cut his finger with his own sword, for his own good!

Top evaluator quotes of the evening:
“When you’re comfortable, we’re comfortable.” – Matt.
“The unexamined life is not worth living. The unevaluated speech is not worth giving.” – John.

It was a night of Achievements. Amaia won Best Speech. Maxime won Best Evaluator. Best Humour went to John, while the best Table Topics was delivered by Jim. Three other major achievements were reported at the end of the day:

• Becky, having delivered her 2nd educational speech (from the Leadership Excellence Series and the Successful Club Series) has now achieved Advanced Leader Bronze.

• Atma having delivered his 10th speech from the Competent Communication Manual has achieved his Competent Communicator award, the badge for which will be delivered in a future meeting.

• Atma reported that Cranfield Speakers’ own Andy, on 26th May, won the award of ‘The Most Interactive Lecturer in Cranfield University’s School of Applied Sciences’ during the Student-Led Teaching Awards. Bravo, Toastmaster Andy!!!

Jim reminded everyone about the Evaluation Workshop coming up 29th May in Milton Keynes and enjoined as many members as possible to participate.

Maxime reminded us of the Cranfield Speakers Gala Dinner on Wednesday 18th June (7pm for a 7.30pm start). If you haven’t yet booked and paid for your tickets (£10 each), please bring cash along to our next meeting or contact

Next meeting will be on 11th June 2014. All welcome.
Prepared by Allison and Edited by Becky

The sixth meeting of prospective club Northampton Speakers.

Sue Savage, Club President

“Another entertaining meeting, with a visit from a toastmaster from Slovenia! Irina told us about the delights of Slovenian holidays, and made our mouths water with her description of ‘moving cake’.
What surprises will the next meeting hold? Hopefully we’ll hear a bit about Daniel’s visit to a toastmasters club in Malta.”

Lynda Andrews, Area 44 Governor

“Another enjoyable meeting with an advanced speech, good evaluations and an enjoyable impromptu speaking session. There were 2 guests this evening who spoke of the friendliness of the members and the warm welcome they received.”

Dave Minzey, Distinguished Toastmaster

“AN entertaining evening. The club is building.”

Next meeting Monday 16th June at 19:15 at 53 Billing Road Northampton NN1 5DB


Northampton Speakers 5th Meeting 19th May 2014

STOP PRESS Joydeep delivered our first home-grown Icebreaker speech tonight. Joydeep also took the award for the Best use of Humour. Steve took Best Table topics Speaker and Craig took Best Evaluator award.


Ten Toastmasters, visiting Toastmasters and most welcome guests gathered at 53 Billing road for the Club’s fifth meeting. This exciting and interesting meeting was themed on Northampton and entitled “A Toastmaster’s Guide to Northampton” It was presided over by the Club’s President Sue supported by Daniel as Toastmaster of the Evening and acting Sergeant at Arms. Scintillate was chosen as the word of the day by Sue, as Grammarian.

Sue evaluated our first speaker Joydeep who gave his Icebreaker talk entitled “Turning the Corner” Joydeep charted his life as a very shy guy avoiding public speaking at all costs to slowly having to do more as a professional and eventually reaching the point where with a week singing practice, to his wife, at home he believed he could step onto a stage ‘willingly’.

Tim evaluated our second speaker Steve who had a talk entitled “A fine claret”. Steve left the room dumb struck by a series of dates and names that all proved to be very significant in the life of Northampton Town Football Club. The passion and timeline of Northampton Town FC ran through Steve’s life as a series of anchor point for a vast array of date related trivia.

Tabletopics master was Sue who posed four Northampton related topics. 1) Lynda tooks us on a tour of her 52 pairs of shoes in search of her ‘favourite shoes’ and came down to a pair of trainers for go anywhere comfort and white fashion shoes to wear to look fabulous at photo-shoots where 3/4 length shots are taken. 2) Steve went looking for his ‘favourite sport’ between football, rugby, and cricket. To everyone’s relief avoided the ‘F’ word and told us how, as a kid, he and his mates used to enjoy larking about at the Cricket ground with their £10 season tickets, whilst keeping company with the Septuagenarians who were rolling up their final days and years. 3) Ganeesh took us for a walk in search of his ‘favourite building’. Once we were over the shock that the Northampton’s buildings are not huge like Buckingham Palace or The Empire State Building, but are nevertheless good we went via museums, churches, and history to arrive at the best of all, his home. 4) Tim had to choose his ‘favourite racer’ and played ying yang with us as he vacillated between race horse or race car, before finally settling for the car!

Lynda was general evaluator and meeting evaluator and Tim kept time as Time Keeper

Prepared by Daniel Sandars Apologies if they are brief, but I go on holiday very soon